donating for dummies

Britain To Let Gay Men Donate Blood (If They Haven’t Had Any Gay Sex In 10 Years)

Great news, do-gooding homosexual Britons: The blood police are going to let you give up your O-negatives and your AB-positives and your plasma! Well, so long as you’ve been celibate for 10 years.

Britain’s health minister Anne Milton will soon announce revised rules for donating blood that let gay men enter the mix. But there’s one big asterisk: only gay men who have not had gay sex within the past 10 years are eligible to get a needle stuck in their arm. You know, because you’re all HIV-carrying monsters, and health officials simply don’t know how to properly screen for improprieties. Also, because having butt sex with another dude three years ago, or eight years, or nine years, still makes you a risk factor!

It’s been a change year’s in the making. (See our 2009 post: “Britain Ready to Admit: No Good to Reason to Ban Gay Blood Donors.” With data showing that only two people in the U.K. have been infected with HIV via blood transfusions since 1985 (you know, when AIDS scares were all the rage), the ban on gay blood has long been viewed as outdated, discriminatory, and even malicious.

But why the 10-year hurdle?

The changes were instigated by Sabto, the advisory committee on the safety of blood, tissues and organs, which had concluded that if the ban were replaced by a new rule preventing gay men from giving blood for five years after having sex with another man, the risk of HIV reaching the blood supply would go up by less than 5%. It is estimated that this figure would halve if the “deferral” period were increased to 10 years, so ministers backed this option. The 10-year delay also ensures that people who are not aware they have contracted HIV do not pass it on accidentally.

Which means after the new rules take effect, the only gay men who will be able to legally donate blood will be … priests.